Don’t be in any doubt

Just a quick note regarding my post on Saturday. It’s now Monday and I’m back at work. I have to be pragmatic about the situation with the girl here. I can’t undo what happened before, and at this point I can’t even apologise as I’d like to.

I have to be patient and look to mend those broken bridges. For me it means being present and friendly and attentive. I won’t push it too hard, but I want to become a consistent part of her life. I want her to know I’m here.

On Thursday last week I was able to draw her out a little with some bantering emails. She was hesitant, but she responded. We went back and forwards maybe eight times all up with me teasing and witty and she gently joining the party. It ended only when a piece of news intruded on the conversation she didn’t know how to respond to (that I might be leaving by months end), though no response in itself is very much a response.

I think this is the best way to go. Don’t push too hard. Don’t ask too much. Keep it light as much as possible, but don’t be afraid of the real stuff if the occasion warrants it. I am by nature impatient, but must play the long game – she likes me, she just has to learn to trust me again. That can only be if I’m consistent and reliable and fun to be with. I will try and do what I advise others: leave them wanting more.

This marks a change, but it is a natural one. Before I would do so much and wait for her to respond. That was before I understood and though I’m fine, I have something to make-up. That’s okay, and in fact I find myself feeling warm inside wanting to do the right thing by her. What happens between me and her is important, but secondary to making her feel safe and earning back her trust. I want to do the right thing and that feels good.


Bad at these things

I was sitting on the couch last night watching a movie which was just alright and my mind was drifting to the book I’m writing. I’m figuring out plot points and points of view. I’m thinking up little bits of dialogue and description and trying to assimilate it into a whole. This book has some psychological complexity and I have to work at it to get it straight, but that’s how I like it. Anyway, I’m picturing a particular scene and the reaction of one of the key characters. I’ve had to shift from the perspective of one character to the other to make it true and as it comes together I feel as if it’s honest and real and unexpectedly insightful. Okay then I think, I’ll have to write that tomorrow, and off to bed I go.

I sleep as normal until about 4am, when I emerge into a state of semi-consciousness. There are swirling fragments of thought and remote feeling in me. It’s like something stirred up in the dark of sleep slowly settles as I set my mind to it. Eventually, a picture emerges from it. At first, it’s just there, a matter of fact thing, before my wakening mind begins to pick up on it. I test it with my conscious mind, unsure as yet as to what I’m really seeing, but sensing it all the same.

Finally, it is there in me something true but hidden from me all this time. By now it is getting on towards 7am. I twist and turn. My eyes open just before 7 and I switch on the news before getting up to feed Rigby and make coffee. It’s cold and I turn on the heater, then back to bed.

I close my eyes again full of this thing trying to figure it all together. How have I not known this? I wonder. A part of me feels bitterly disappointed. I pride myself of being sensitive and observant and yet this passed me by altogether and might have forever on if not last night pondering on my book – for what I wrote in my mind I realised belatedly had parallels in my own life. What I could craft knowingly as a writer and with some psychological insight I was oblivious to as a man. Till now.

A few things happened with the girl during the week and some of them promising, before ultimately disappointing. Though she came closer than for a while she did not take up the invitation. It left me in my usual state and vowing to do as I usually do, frustrated still, and puzzled. I’m not puzzled anymore.

For weeks after it turned awkward between us she would continue to greet me brightly. We would pass in the passageway or come across each other in the kitchen and each time she would acknowledge me with a smile and mostly an encouraging word. At the best of times, I’m not really that sort of person, and these were the best of times. No matter how many times she did it I seemed always surprised, and my response to her gruff and belated. Naturally, over time, she stopped, until there came a time when we wouldn’t even pass in the passageway or meet in the kitchen.

How ridiculous it seems now. Ridiculous I could be that way, and even more ridiculous that I could not see what was so clearly before me. How could I have been so blind? Because I was self-absorbed. It’s no wonder that she’s tentative with me now, and I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t trust me – something I suspect.

As I became fully awake all of this was present and clear in my mind. I was mortified and overcome with a sense of guilt. The sense of missed opportunity was swamped by the realisation of what I had done to someone I liked and respected. For someone who prides himself on being trustworthy and reliable, someone who strives to be a better man, I had failed badly.

This realisation made sense of so much that has happened since. As I said, I doubt she trusts me completely. She likes me I’m sure. She enjoys my conversation, my mind, my wit, and at times she is happy to engage with that, but commitment is beyond her. That is trust to some degree, and perhaps disappointment. All this time I’ve been thinking meet me halfway and I understand now that she feels as if she tried and I wasn’t there. She won’t do that again.

I can’t say any of this to her. It’s too confronting and too easily shrugged off. In the situation, we’re in it’s an admission of vulnerability that would be foolish to make. It’s on me now though. Somehow I have to let her know how sorry I am, and must, somehow, re-build that lost trust. That might come with familiarity, but mostly it will take honesty with her when the time is right.

Like I said, I’m bad at these things, but want to make it right.

As I feel

I’ve made a point in recent months of acting as I feel. If I’m positive about something I’ll show it. If I like you, you’ll know it. If I disagree with something I won’t bother to hide it (nor will I make a big deal of it in general). It’s all about being authentic and in the moment, and one of the benefits of it is that it doesn’t play into narratives and negates play-acting. I still have my secrets, I still retain my essential privacy, but I’m sufficiently transparent to leave no-one in any doubt about it.

This philosophy has been pretty well tested in dealing with A, at work. We’ve gone backwards and forwards. There’ll be times when I’m sitting on the edge of her desk and we’re talking easily and she’s beaming. Half an hour later the shutters are down again. Spontaneous interaction works better than structured, probably because she is taken by surprise. Sometimes you would think we hardly know each other, or never exchanged a fond word, but as if to mitigate against that an email will pop up from her more playful and girlish.

I’ve felt for a long time that fundamentally she likes me, but is wary of getting close to me. Perhaps that’s because of what happened over Christmas. Maybe she has something in her past that influences her behaviour. Or – and for some reason, I am beginning to believe this – she is inexperienced at these things and conflicted (I know she’s single and sensitive about it). Or maybe I’ve just got it all wrong and she just humours me occasionally.

Whatever, I’ve responded consistently throughout much as I’ve described. Fundamentally I like her, and that doesn’t go away. Sometimes I’m more sweet on her, and at other times frustrated. I’ve not lost patience, but when I don’t feel it, or when I’ve had enough for the moment, I back off a little. There’s nothing contrived in this, I’m still friendly when I see her, I just don’t try anything or go out of my way.

Things are – in general – a lot better than they were a couple of months ago, but this cycle keeps repeating. Last week I had run out of patience and had no real desire to interact with her. I was at the stage that if she walked in the room I’d be happier walking out because I don’t want to face that conflict. That didn’t happen, but it sums up my state of mind. She picks up on such things and the routine is that she will make an effort then. I’m a little cynical of that now because I know how it turns out. Last week I wondered if finally, this was it, I’d run out of patience. So be it if so, true to my feelings.

In the meantime, I’ve continued my normal life and, as I’ve reported previously, been feeling a lot better about it. I interact with a lot of people, some I like, some I don’t, some who are men, and some women. It doesn’t mean much more often than not, but I like to flirt if I’ve got a willing flirtee. There’s one woman I’ve probably flirted with since day one, but probably more so in recent times because I’ve had a lot more to with her.

She’s a smart, attractive, stylish woman. I remember when I first met her I thought I’d like to get to know her better. Still, there’s been no meaning in my flirtation, just a bit of fun. Then last week something happened that gave me an inkling that she was getting into it more than I thought. I know at least she likes me, how much I’m not sure.

Just the possibility of something cast me back into my own thoughts. She is quite different from A. She’s the sort of woman I think a lot of my friends could imagine me with, and perhaps I would have expected myself 10-15 years ago. She would fit in well. As I thought of her my mind gravitated to A.

How is A different? They’re both attractive women, though K is an overtly stylish, fashionable woman. They’re both very smart. That means a lot to me. I suspect that A might be more interesting – and by that, I mean more generally curious, with more stories to tell. She’s a great reader too, which counts for a lot too. Still, these are superficialities. There is an intangible – there always is. In this case, I wondered if that intangible was legitimate, or if it was, in fact, a bias.

I have a thing where I try to feel the future. Now that doesn’t always work so often times I’ll just immerse myself in possibilities and see how I feel. This morning I had just about the perfect conditions to do this.

I woke reluctantly at 7 with Rigby’s tummy growling. I got up and fed him and let him out and then went back to bed. For the next hour, I drifted between a pleasantly fuzzy half sleep and something deeper. In my vague mind, I tried to focus myself on K, but there wasn’t enough there. It’s much richer with A because I know her better and we have a history. What a dreamt about where the simple things that no longer happen. Once, I remember, she was sitting in the next partition to me at work. We talk all day without any of the self-consciousness that now infects the conversation. She told me about a book she was reading. It’s crap, she told me, but she can’t help reading it (there’s a metaphor for our relationship…).

The point is I felt fond and affectionate and protective of her. I felt as if we were intertwined, as perhaps we are. It was a very pleasant hour.

There are very clear signs I can read in that, but I just don’t know how true they are. I have a habit of hoping for too long. I was halfway to letting it go as being too hard. But then you know you like her. And you think you know her in some intrinsic way – that’s the intangible. You recognise something you can’t put words to, but it’s true. I think both of us feel that.

Where that leaves me I’m unsure. I guess in the end my aim was true – be as I feel, and let’s see where my feelings lead.

Dare to hope

Following on from what I wrote yesterday I’m trying to put it in true perspective. I reckon half the time you think you know what you think or feel, but even then it’s not always true. You’re apt to get caught out. Something happens and exposed is a previously secret emotion. You approach things rationally and logically and that’s perfectly fine except you don’t lived in a pure, untainted environment. In the real world good intentions and considered expectations get derailed by unexpected twists and irrational responses and, heaven forbid, your own sense of human feeling.

I know all this. I’m a very rational man but I’d be dumb if I didn’t factor in an often irrational world. So, I try never to be categorical. Black and white is a no-no. I have inclinations and preferences. I have notions and the odd hypothesis. Ultimately I trust more what I do than what I actually think.

It’s funny how we can be disconnected from our own doing. It’s as if there’s another realm wherein the body takes over. So you think this, but actually you do that. WTF? Yet you have to respect it. So many times this has been true in my experience.

This girl is a decent example. I’ve been hanging in there for a while and gone through different permutations of emotion. Sometimes I’ve been hopeful, other times upset, sometimes angry and occasionally exasperated. They’ve been the variables, but I’ve tracked well tracked the same line. Fair enough.

Now I’m just a bloke and by bread a bloke does not live alone. So while I’m yearning, while it’s still yet to happen and may never, I figure I can satisfy my needs elsewhere. That’s the theory. In fact – though I often feel great desire and am almost always straining at the leash – when it comes down to it I have no real urge to do something about it. Bless my cotton socks, but I want to stay pure – there’s a lot of me on the edge, but I really am a romantic, sensitive character to.

I say that – and yet, this is what I want to figure out. I actually had a very brief but pleasurable episode with a much younger woman about ten days ago. It was fun, guilt free, just what I needed. Then on Friday I’m sitting with another woman and I’m wondering if I can take this further and I know, I just know, that I don’t want to. I make my excuses and extricate myself. On the train home I rationalise it that it’s too complicated – and by that her place or mine, and the conversation on top of it – and of course I know it’s bullshit. I think of the few occasions when I’ve knocked back sex and how always afterwards I would shake my head in wonder: what happened there? In actual fact that was me being an adult, not a kid.

As I pondered deeper I realised that I didn’t want an episode of convenience. I’m past that banality. I want something real and felt, and fair enough now, and maybe overdue too. So how then do I account for the episode? I felt it, but what I felt wasn’t tenderness or affection and certainly not love, what I felt was a spiky desire. It started flirting and joking and suddenly it happened – it spontaneous and unexpected, therefore it was real.

I reflect on this as I consider A. I absolve myself of anything inappropriate, even had I gone with the woman on Friday. That’s the rough and tumble and life and I’m under no obligation. I choose to feel some obligation though because that’s what I want. I want that tie, that bond, that connection. I’ve never understood open relationships because what to me is some of the central tenets of love are done away with – faith, expectation, shared and poignant experience. To pour yourself into one other, and one only, and from here till eternity, well that’s my ideal.

I hope that happens. I hope the day comes when I can share some of this with her. Of course, there are many things I want to share – that’s what you crave when you become close to another. I want to crack myself open for her so she can read over my entrails. And vice versa. This is a different dimension altogether, much, much different to these transient episodes, even the highly satisfying. This is what I want I think, and what my body does too. We are in accord because the behavioural barriers between us are dissolving. It’s no longer purely hypothetical; I have entered into and accepted my own human feeling. And, perhaps too, as she.

She is shining now. I’ve never seen her like this before. She’s ebullient. I dare to hope.

Domestic nudity

I took a holiday last week from concerning myself with A, the girl I like at work. I was busy as always and she was training all week regardless and I in truth I was probably a little weary of the routine we rinse and repeat time and again. We were at the stage of the cycle where she opens up to me and I anticipated it. Sure enough, that’s what happened, and though I was glad of it I was also a tad jaded at the predictability.

In fact, despite being busy training, she made bright efforts every day bar one. Fine, I thought, and let it go.

I had the curious sense that though I thought no less of her my romantic interest was waning. I liked her, I just didn’t have the same feeling or sense of hope. Perhaps it had dragged on too long. I set that aside too, knowing that likely it would take very little to re-ignite my interest – which, on balance, I hoped for.

I saw her perhaps twice last week and briefly each time, but found her in my mind as I went to bed last night. I imagined her at home, wondering what she might be getting up to and thinking that if she wasn’t in bed already she was probably on her way. It was kind of cute.

As I slept and woke she came back to me. Like most men I’m sure I indulge myself from time to time picturing what the attractive woman over yonder looks like without her clothes. I’m pretty good at it having a naturally vivid imagination, plus real life experience to boot. Of course I’d done that with A also, but found I could never quite manage it convincingly. Sure, I could imagine this or that but it never quite hung together. I would wonder what it meant when I could conjure up the naked bods of other women so much easier. There were times when I took it as a negative, as if it was my sub-conscious sending me a message.

Last night I could picture her, but the erotic edge of a naked body was stripped from it. Rather the sense was of a casual and comfortable intimacy, very much in a domestic setting – the glimpses of naked body you catch when someone gets out of the shower or changes for bed, an unmentioned, low-key sharing of moments as she pulls a dress up over her head, or putting knickers on as we discuss by the by the plans for the day ahead, or a dream overnight.

I don’t know but it felt warm and real. This morning getting into work I reserved judgement on what I would do next. Our first encounter would bear strongly on that. As it happened she visited mid-morning as I was yarning with my offsider. She went about meeting with different people. She would have known I was in good spirits. I’m certainly the laconic type, but I also have a big laugh when it comes, and this morning it came. Eventually she turned to us, teasing how we seemed to be having too much fun. I liked her.

Just now I’ve returned from a meeting on her floor. On the way back I sat on the edge of her desk and we chatted for 5 minutes teasing again and her smile was happy and I felt it too.

I’m hoping we’ve moved beyond the looping stages. I suspect she knows that I am more than that now, and I hope she understands that she too can be. Time will tell, though I’m not sure yet how we play it out. Guess I’ll find out.

Doing my thing

It’s rare that I post anything on a Friday night. Generally, I’m either out having a beer after work, or else home looking forward to a night watching the footy or a good movie.

Tonight I’m home, but I’ve been so busy this week that I’m taking the opportunity to catch up a little. Besides, I have words in me.

I actually want to write about the girl. I’ve had little to do with her lately. I’m busy, she’s busy, the opportunity doesn’t come up, and I’m not going to force it. Up to today I don’t I had anything to do with her since last week. I hadn’t even set eyes on her in that time, and no big deal.

I both saw and communicated with her today. I had to pop upstairs to meet with someone and there she was. I was up there about 20 minutes and when I left I didn’t stop by her desk as I might normally. I was running between getting things done, but also very conscious of not doing things just for the sake of it. Possibly she expected me to stop by, I don’t know, but it wasn’t long before I figured I was the bad books.

How do I know that? I guess there’s a combination of things. You sense it in the body language. Then she’s non-responsive, and when she must respond it’s very curtly – none of the smiley faces, nothing personal, not my name when she addresses me, everything blunt and shorn of ornament.

Why then? I figure it’s for one of two reasons.

Either it’s because of my enigmatic Facebook post of about a week ago in which she possibly identifies herself (I had another person think it was them I referred to). We’re not Facebook friends so I don’t know how she would have seen it but through a mutual friend, but whatever. So maybe she’s upset at that.

More likely she’s unhappy I haven’t made a greater effort this week. You fall into patterns, and often when it’s men and women the men do the wooing and the women are coy. That’s been our pattern too, though my wooing has been more of a friendly nature. This week though it’s been missing – because I’ve been busy, like I said, and because I’m doing what I feel.

It’s important for me to be natural these days. I express it as I feel it. If I’m feeling fond of her I’ll show it. If I’m distracted by other things then I won’t pretend something that’s not in me. I want to be sincere – true. I feel no less for her in any empirical sense, I just haven’t felt the need to prove it.

On top of that, I’m in pretty good order these days. I feel on top of my game and when that happens I flow. I’m real easy with everyone, and everyone likes me because I’m fun to be with. She’s seen that, she even experienced it obliquely, and maybe when she sees that she wonders if she’s really that special to me. I’m not pining. I’m happy and bubbling, whether she’s a part of it or not.

There’s a part of me that feels like teasing her, and effectively I am in some ways. When it’s like this I don’t how it plays out, but I don’t really change my ways. I send her the same bright email as always (or sometimes merely the briskly efficient, but all in character) knowing that she’s just as likely to want to punish me for my inattention. I smile when I receive the curt response. By now I know it, and I feel like teasing it out, sending her another bright response just because. I don’t – that would be forcing it. I let it go.

It’s important I maintain contact with her. She may bat away my hand today but next week may take it. I’ll keep doing it for as long as it feels real. I’m not offended by her anymore, but at the same time there’s only so much I can or will do. Or should. This is me if she can recognise it – I’m tender and affectionate and I’m true. Above all, I aim to be completely authentic. In the end, she must make that decision – I’ve made mine. Her decision may be ultimately no, or just as likely I’ll fade away before she makes a call. That’s life. I’m here, I’m cool, I can only be true to myself.

I still don’t know what will happen but remain convinced she is intimately aware of me. I hope so. She looked particularly delectable today.

Till such a time I’m just doing my thing.

Head and heart

I was in a pretty bad way yesterday. I don’t think that was clear when I wrote. Writing has the effect of taming things for a while, but the effect wears off often. I felt wrong, almost at an existential level. It felt fundamentally wrong and so unfair.

Later I reflected on that – why should that worry me so much? I don’t expect fairness. I know it’s just an arbitrary construction, and know better – mostly – than to take any digression from it personally. And mostly because of that I’ve been able to shrug it off and often, in fact, use it as motivation. I’m someone who responds well to such challenges.

There’s the head then, and there’s the heart. I know this in my head, and because I have become inured, and so defiant by extension, I feel it also in my self, my body, maybe even my heart. But not yesterday. Yesterday I put words to it trying to claim some order. I felt bleak in my heart though, and as I went about my day in a haze I associate with depression.

Last night I slept better than I have for so long. I have a sleep tracker that tells me how often I rouse during the night and puts a score on my sleep quality. Last night the score was 98%, which was no surprise. I woke to feel that I had not slept so well since I couldn’t remember, and reached to read the score. Once upon a time it’s how I slept most nights I think, but these days I average somewhere in the 70’s.

The sleep did me good. It settled me some. I recall just one small dream, though she was in it, as herself.

One of the things that went through my head yesterday was not just how I should feel, but what I think? I wonder if pure intellectual reaction has been corrupted by woolly philosophy. I wondered if I should be angry, but then considered that what I feel now because of her she may have experienced because of me. Does that make a difference? Does it make more sense of things? In any case, I didn’t feel angry.

I wondered if I should just walk away – but from what? I’m not doing anything but being myself. I’m not trying anything with her. I’m not trying to woo or charm or persuade her. I put no pressure on her except, possibly, by being myself – the person she fell for. And at this stage, I refuse to be anything less than that person.

I keep thinking, this is her decision now. I don’t know if that’s a cop-out, but it informs my behaviour and policy of non-intervention. Is it possible it confuses her? Would I be better trying something? That is my dilemma though, the two sides of it – I could be more or I could be less, and either might be right. Instead, I choose just to be who I am, not pushing, but present, decent, intelligent, reliable and fun. Here I am – over to you.

In my mind, I see the relationship between us constantly shifting, if not in transition then certainly dynamic. I am aware of her, and I feel her awareness of me. There was something, it hit a speedbump and went off track and raised a lot of dust – and now I am trying to steer back towards the track while the dust slowly settles. I’m not there yet, and dust still hangs in the air, but track this course and the air will clear.

But then, I wonder, is her snubbing the other evening the real final word on this? Is that what she wants me to know? There is no track?

It’s funny how we apply interpretations to events. I’m always wary of it because it often involves the emotions, and there’s the prospect of twisting the interpretation to match your hopes. I don’t know if that’s a filter I can see, but my sense from Friday is that she snubbed me because she didn’t want to face me then. I don’t think it was rejection, rather a convenience. I don’t know if she overheard the conversation from the kitchen and if that was playing in her, adding to the noise. I did a lot for her, and she knows it, and I know she is grateful, but, I suspect, it was not something she trusted herself to express at that moment. It was easier to blow by me.

These are the thoughts in me today after having slept. My head and heart are in more accord. I feel less sad and certainly less hazy. Tomorrow, at work, might tell the tale.

For me, I go on as ever. There’s no reason to doubt myself, for this is the authentic me – and I don’t want to be anything less than that.